The Saints Row games have always been a love it or hate it kind of series, from its origins as a purely gangster based Grand Theft Auto clone, to the zombies, Burt Reynolds and pedestrian shooting cars of Saints Row the Third it's always had its proverbial tongue pushed right through its cheek. But after declaring Steelport a city-state at the end of the last game, what can possibly be left to do? Well like all long running series there comes a time when you end up in space, and now it all makes sense, the setting perfectly suits the gameplay and humour the series has come to embody, only now Volition have been given free reign to go wild, and boy have they took that bull by the horns.
The game starts as a hoo-rah parody of all the military neck-stabbing games so prevalent in today's market, of course this being Saints Row it involves your boss character disabling an in flight nuke before jumping off and literally landing himself in the Whitehouse. One alien invasion later and you end up in a Matrix-alike version of Steelport, and it's here Kinzi, the FBI hacking whiz-kid introduced in the last game, breaks the simulation to allow your superpowers to bloom.
Saints Row IV is no longer a game standing in the long shadow of GTA, with this all-new super-powered gameplay Volition have shamelessly nabbed some the things that made a few other games fun and moulded them in to one amazingly fun package. Prototype's gliding, Crackdown's orbs and jumping, and most bafflingly Mass Effect's mission structure. Each homie you free from the matrix sits at homebase and unlocks more missions for you to enjoy, heck you can even romance them with a button press. If you've ever wanted to get a blowie off a featureless spherical robot now's your chance!
Control wise things have improved muchly from the last game, perversely the car handling has been tweaked into a much better form even though you won't be using them much, as a super-powered sprint is far more fun than pootling around in a Ford Ka. Even the jumping and gliding controls have received work, and these together with your new found abilities will spell doom for the invading Zin army.
I'm purposely not trying to give away too much in my descriptions here, for the discovery to be had whilst you play the game is excellent, and it's always hilarious when you get a new power to play with and Kinzie whisks you to Matrix style buildings to test it out. You won't have to wait too long to get your new toys either, Saints Row IV is the kind of game that chucks you a tank for completing the second mission.
So, cards on the table time, Saints Row the Third is one of my all time favourite games, I've managed to play it to completion three times over two different formats, and I'm STILL playing it. With the right partner there is simply no substitute. Well, at least not until now, Saints Row IV is even better, everything gels just right, Volition have managed to align the stars perfectly and have achieved the proverbial jewel in the crown. Thanks to Deep Silver for rescuing this from THQ's dying grasp and releasing what is surely one of the best and most fun sandbox games ever produced. Go and beg, buy or borrow a copy, hell get two, one for a friend, because the only thing that can make Saints Row IV better than it is, is to have a friend playing it with you and sharing the laughter that will surely follow.
You must sign up for an AATG account and login in order to post comments